A number of NATO countries are looking at several military contingency plans to intervene in the two-year civil war ravaging Syria, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Commander of U.S. European Command, Admiral James Stavridis, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that several NATO countries are looking at a variety of military operations to arm and assist the opposition fighters, according to UK based The Independent.
“The Syrian situation continues to become worse and worse and worse,” Stavridis said, adding “no end is in sight to a vicious civil war.”
However, to end the deadlock between embattled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces and the opposition, the admiral said NATO must assist the latter group by using aircraft to impose a no-fly zone, providing military aid and imposing arms embargoes.
“We are prepared, if called upon, to be engaged as we were in Libya,” he added.
NATO intervened in Libya to implement a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for the backing of opposition fighters against the late Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi and his supporters in 2011.
The military official said it is “necessary” to get U.N. approval before NATO assumes any military role in Syria.
While the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Ibrahimi, had hinted previously at the failure of finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people, he warned of the “Somalization” of the country.
He was referencing the aborted U.N. mission to Somalia which ran from 1992-95, the international community failed to revise the Somali civil war which began in 1991.
Regarding Syria, Brahimi said, “this is the gravest crisis that haunts the world…There must be a peaceful solution or Syria will become even worse than Somalia.”
The admiral’s statements came after Assad’s regime and the opposition exchanged accusations over the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo.
The United States and the organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an international anti-chemical weapons body, both said that there was no evidence that either Assad’s forces or the opposition had used chemical weapons in any attacks in northern Syria.